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Coaching! Mentoring! Consulting! – Does the terminology matter? What way should you go?

What is the difference- coaching, mentoring and consulting?
Coaching, Mentoring or Consulting?

Let us start with a few quick definitions:

  • The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as:

“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.”


  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines mentoring as:

“the act or process of helping and giving advice to a younger or less experienced person, especially in a job or at school”

  • · The Oxford Dictionary defines consulting as:

“Engaged in the business of giving expert advice to people working in a specific field.”

Were you able to digest any off that?

Not really.

We are often guided by the terminology and negate what the service provider brings to the table. Don’t get caught up in the terms. The confusion arises from the fact that coaching is largely an unregulated industry.

Unlike psychology or law or engineering, coaches do not necessarily go to schools for formal training.

How do you know if you should opt for a coach/mentor/consultant?

It is simple. Focus on your goal and yourself first. What is it that you seek?

To make it simple, here is how you can reach out to the right fit for you:

Coaching or Mentoring
Looking for the right expert?

  • Coaching

  1. Coaching is a development-focused relationship with a (hopefully) qualified coach. The focus of the coach is always to make you move forward and reach the desired goal. The coach should ideally not lead with advise rather empower the client to get there.

  2. While a good coach is one who should be certified (proving the many hours of training undertaken by the coach), the coach should focus on the client’s goals and not decipher or pre-judge the outcome of the situation.

  3. Coaching focuses on client performance – always. The aim is to get to a desired outcome.

Mentorship is really important. Choose wisely
Identifying your Mentor

  • Mentoring

  1. Mentoring comes from someone who has “been there done that”. It is usually offered by someone who has actually lived your desired goal and is offered as advisory to the mentee. Like: I studied law, so when law students approach me for guidance – I mentor them – in a way I tell them what they should consider doing as a next step in their career.

  2. Mentors are usually drawing from their own experiences or handing down their own skills. A mentor does not need to have any formal guidance or training to impart the learning.

  3. While bosses can also be good mentors, it is always good to have a mentor who would be more neutral to the situation.

Consultants are more advisors, telling clients what to do and how to do it.
Does your business require consultancy?

  • Consulting

  1. A consultant tells the client what to do, basis the facts that are provided by the client.

  2. The difference between a mentor and a consultant is a mentor largely draws from his own experience but a consultant may be giving advise basis research and/or education.

So what is right for you? The answer lies in where you are in your life right now. You want to feel empowered, develop a new skill, take a plunge, try something different then you probably should consider a coach.

Looking to speak your heart out.?

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